Life Is Looking Up Again


I will have to admit, yesterday was not fun. The roll on the boat was unpleasant, the sea was choppy and “confused”. The crew who had been ill the day before, turned sleepy and lethargic. Everyone could roust themselves awake for their watch, but would fall asleep again as soon as it was finished. For those with the strongest stomachs, the meals of the day comprised peanut butter and crackers and noodle soup. For the others, hot tea was an adventure in haute cuisine. The motion of the boat prevented any reading, map work, emails, or any activity that required looking down. Not so fun and just a bit scary.

Today, however, is a new day! The sky is crystal blue with puffy scattered clouds. The sea is calm with long roll waves that gently rock the boat up one trough and down the next. There is no land to be seen in any direction, no boats, no fishing markers. The crew wakes up with some good energy. Jenny gives John a haircut that makes him look very nautical, and I mean that in a nice way. We actually eat breakfast and lunch and even clean up the boat a bit. A fine layer of salt “dust” covers all surfaces, inside and out.

Ok, I spoke too soon about not seeing anything. On Jenny’s watch, we have just passed by a floating metal cylinder that is about 10 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. Its location is 133 nm from land, in 3000 feet of water. Completely unmarked. We believe that it is FAD, fish aggregation device. It could also be flotsam from Japan, but that debris is supposed to be further north. We have spotted it with no problem in the daylight, but at night we would never see it. The radar does show a small blip when it is about 1/4 of a mile out. At night, assuming there were no false wave returns, we would have identified it as an object to avoid, maybe put the search light on it. Really bad form by some fisherman. Let’s put the Philippine Coast Guard on that problem.

Ok, and now we spot another object on the horizon. We are 139 nautical miles at sea, off the coast of the Philippines, and we have just passed a giant banka that looks like something from Waterworld. Huge white spider legs sticking out supporting a deck with a two story tall decorated house, about 10 tiny bankas pulled up on the mother ship, and loads of people sitting in the shade behind the floating house. It is a bit unnerving being so far out, all alone, and seeing such a vessel. They motor by about a quarter mile abeam.

Engine room update: Temps are steady measured with the infrared heat gun. Engine block 200 F, Transmission 125 F, Jack shaft 105 F, Thrust bearing 130 F.
Primary Racor is a 10 micron, and holding a constant vacuum of 3-4 mm.

Trip log thus far is 631 nm since departure from Subic. 241 gallons utilized according to the Floscan totalizer. Engine hour meter is 112 hours. Resultant mileage is 2.61 mpg, 2.14 gallons per hour, and average speed is 5.6 kts. Fuel calculations are acceptable, considering the slowgoing in the tumultuous time after San Bernadino. Also, the paravane fish were out the last 36 hours until it smoothed out today. After pulling the fish in, we gained a knot. Sails are furled because the wind has shifted to 10 kts headwind. So we push forward. Anticipated arrival in Palau is October 31.

All is going well.
Regards to all from M/Y Laysan in the middle of the Philippine Sea.

October 28, 2011
UTC 7:19
Philippine Time 3:19 pm
Coordinates 11 11.70 N 128 02.23 E


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7 Responses to Life Is Looking Up Again

  1. Sybil Saito says:

    I love reading your blog. You should write a book when you return. Pun vs. St. Louis was a thriller – we confirmed our win after an interception with 2 minutes to go. We have Connor safely with us and will get him home tomorrow. ILH Championship game is next Thursday night. We’ll check with Connor and are happy to drive him home or he can sleep over and then go to school with us… probably more to his liking than biking down hill to school. Take good care, Sybil

  2. Laureen Blane says:

    Hope that you will continue to have calmer seas. I don’t think that there is anything worse than being sea sick… have no control since the sea has its own agenda…. you just have to “roll” with it. (Pardon the pun.)
    I really enjoy your blog. Watch out for that debris and stay safe!
    Just to let Jenny and Brian know that the Cannucks are off to a slow start. The team defense is sucking right now and Luongo’s goal tending is inconsistent.
    We continue to enjoy our Wednesday ride Jen…..but we are missing you!

    Laureen Blane

  3. penny says:

    re: spotting the banka mothership when you’re out in the middle of the empty ocean. you two always think of everything. i’m sure you thought of a gun for each of you…something with an impressive warning shot…perhaps a cannon off the bow? stay safe and what a jaw-dropping adventure. love and admire you guys. love, penny

  4. Steve Noufer says:

    Love reading your blog. makes me wish I was participating. Not that my office is not adventurous.

  5. Erin Lee says:

    To Kathleen and company:

    I’m following your travels regularly and glad to hear that things are looking up. You are certainly getting a book-worthly story out of this trip! You’ve assembled the right crew — everyone seems to have the right disposition and sense of adventure for this journey.

    Mr. Douglas and Leslie are fine, as are the kids (I spoke with Mr. Douglas the other day). I didn’t ask about Happy — but I’ll assume “no news is good news” when it comes to her.

    Be safe!


  6. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Kathleen for your detailed writing. You paint the picture of your journey so vividly. I can only imagine the Waterworld floating in the seas! Perhaps the person who conceived that story saw it too at some other time! Hope that your seas settle for your crossing and we look forward to hear that you have safely arrived at your next stop. Let Jen and Bri know that Lindsay seems to be getting along nicely and has Jack again to keep Abby company over the weekend.

  7. Barbara says:

    Finally able to catch these pics.. life at sea and the mysterious boat! Love the water splash on the windshield…

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